February 9, 2008

Green at heart: feeling good starts with doing good

Burt's Bees and Tom's of Maine look good and feel good, too.

Who knew saving the planet could be so self-serving.

I’ve been thinking lately about how good I feel when I’m using or eating something that’s healthy for me and/or the planet. Now, “good” is a very broad term, but in this context it encompasses feelings of excitement, reward, self-satisfaction, accomplishment and wellness. (In other words, opposite of the dental pain and regret I’m feeling after having eaten a naughty piece of Toblerone. Glad it was the last one.)

I think it’s important to emphasize the personal benefits of doing good for the earth, and oneself. There are, in fact, many opportunities and I’m always looking for more.

When do I feel good?

I feel good when…

– I’m packing up my gigantic $2.50 Lee Valley (and other) cloth bags to go grocery shopping and plopping them in a reusable bin. Or filling them up at the checkout. Or putting them away when I get home.

– I wash my hair with quality healthy shampoo and conditioner.

– I put on my natural deodorant or my good-for-me moisturizer.

– I score a deal on something natural, like a sale on Burt’s Bees* or knowing my everlasting deodorant was only $5.

– I use my Keeper instead of disposable, bleached paper/plastic… feminine things.

– The person on the other side of the counter seems shocked that I brought my own bag or toss them back the plastic one they want to give me.

– I leave the market with mostly local products, especially when something’s organic. “Yeah, organic potatoes! Score!”

– I eat organic or really pure foods… quinoa, whole oats porridge, a hearty cereal with fruit, etc.

– I’m scooping food out of a glass JAR instead of out of a tin or a hard plastic container (#1 PET).

– I put my bulk foods into jars, stare at the appearance, and put them away lovingly in my cupboard.

– The market has my organic, local, free run, paper-packaged eggs in stock. Yeah!

– I put something alternative in the freezer or fridge, like some Anita’s Organic Mill whole wheat flour I was just given tonight, or anything home made.

– I find a product I like in entirely recyclable packaging, e.g. dishwashing gloves in a cardboard box instead of plastic. By the way, is it true that rubber latex gloves are biodegradable? Should I be burying them instead of hoarding them?

– I make the best choice I can for myself and my environment.

I feel good when I think about the good things I’m doing.

Some of these feel-good cosmetic products actually feel good partly because of the way they’re packaged, and I’m not just talking about their labels. I’m not accustomed to a jar of creamy moisturizer, a simple shampoo bottle cap, a salt crystal or a good old-fashioned toothpaste tube. The fact that they aren’t commonplace (at least for me) adds to the “hey this is pretty awesome” feeling. It makes me more aware of what I’m doing, which is important in this day and age of zombie routines, time is money and carelessness. HEY! Wake up! Be conscious!

When do you feel good?

What eco-savvy things are you doing that make you feel good? Are you eating with the seasons, are you using biodegradable dish soap, are you wearing organic cotton or hemp fabrics? Are you curbing your consumption? Tell me. (Need some tips? Check out Ecoholic by Adria Vasil. Good design, even better ideas.)

* Unfortunately Burt’s Bees has been purchased by Clorox. I’ll probably follow up with a post about why I despise Clorox right now, and Febreeze, etc. I’ll likely grudgingly continue to use and purchase Burt’s Bees products, but if anyone can suggest something as natural, and maybe cheaper, in healthy recyclable packaging, that I can get locally that’d be great. I like not having to go out of my way to get BB since London Drugs sells it. Mom suggests Patrick Curelle, but she has to use a third product to tame the frizz it gives her, so I didn’t think it was worth it.